Comcast bandwidth caps are a sign we need more competition

August 29, 2008

Comcast bandwidth caps are a sign we need more competition As more companies establish bandwidth limits on their broadband Internet offerings like Comcast just did with its 250GB cap beginning October 1st, it’s becoming even more clear that there isn’t enough competition in the industry. Competition would encourage innovation to provide for customer demand for additional bandwidth, rather than forcibly cutting them off.

At least in the United States, many consumers have two options: cable or DSL. Satellite is also available in many areas but it suffers from high prices and bad latency (which makes gaming almost impossible). Comcast insists that “less than 1 percent of Comcast users will be affected by the limit, [but] customers who go over the 250G-byte cap will not automatically be warned, depending on whether they are in that top 1 percent,” according to PC World.

That’s not a comforting thought, the idea that you could be surfing along one day and all of a sudden see “Page cannot be displayed . . . ” Many people rely on Internet access for their livelihood, maybe they’ll have to apply for business accounts now to continue as they are.

It brings Google’s white space campaign into sharp focus, which seeks to provide Internet access by broadcasting signal through spectrum available between TV channels. It looks a lot more promising — and necessary — in light of Comcast’s behavior and other players who are considering the same browbeating tactic.

For people who download video content from places like Amazon Unbox or Netflix, this could become particularly concerning as their accounts will register higher usage rights. At high quality, movies could eat up bandwidth space very quickly. But then, maybe that’s the point Comcast is making, that neither content providers nor end consumers could enjoy the Internet without a rock solid ISP.

Push back against it, demand something better rather than acquiesce to the corporate mongrels, express yourself on Google’s Free the Airwaves campaign site and let Comcast know you won’t stand for bandwidth caps.

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One Response to “Comcast bandwidth caps are a sign we need more competition”

  1. Ralph:

    Bandwidth caps of any type restrict international commerce and consumers right to access and purchase various media and services.

    A much more rational and very logical choice would have been to impose speed limits during certain times of the day or night, rather than restrict via a “cap” or allowance. A user could spend a bit more for faster speed if needed.

    Much like it would be illegal for a city to tell a driver he or she could not access a part of a interstate highway that passes through that city more than 10 times a month. However speed limits on certain parts of the interstate are perfectly legal and appropriate.

    While a company can charge for access, at the same time limiting that access while other companies do not limit access is anti competitive and if the ISP is the only “game in town” in a certain area. It has the possibility of being deemed a monopoly.

    The days of using the internet for simple browsing and email are over. You have mega corporations from Hollywood to I Tunes to Netflix which delivers high quality video to subscribers computers.

    More and more people rely on the internet for entertainment. And more and more companies sell content to consumers the growth is unlimited.

    Expect class action lawsuits not only from consumer rights groups, but also from major entertainment corporations.

    Not only will the consumer will suffer from these needless restrictions, but a potential huge loss of revenue from Netflix, Holloywood, I Tunes, not to mention the online gaming industry.

    Scamcast stirred up a hornets nest because it is a big player and expect the multi billion dollar entertainment industry to bite back not only at Scamcast, but other companies like Cox and Frontier which according to reports limits access to as little as 5 GB per month.

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